A new advisory committee appointed Monday will take the lead on putting together ideas for a long-sought facility to increase parking for the Gregg County Courthouse in downtown Longview.
The facility, if built, would provide parking for as many as 300 vehicles but could also provide space for other ventures including relocation of the county’s Veterans Services office from its site on East Marshall Avenue, Pct. 1 Commissioner Ronnie McKinney has said.
McKinney will serve as a non-voting member to the advisory committee that commissioners appointed Monday, along with attorney Robin O’Donaghue.
Advisory committee members are Judge Bill Stoudt, Court-at-Law No. 2 Judge Vincent Dulweber, Sheriff Maxey Cerliano, Auditor Laurie Woloszyn and Maintenance Director Harry McMahan.
Last month, commissioners asked for qualified engineering firms to bid on designs for a parking facility to be built across Methvin Street from the courthouse.
The county purchased the land from Regions Bank in February 2018 in a $1.249 million deal. County officials already converted part of that space into a parking lot for about 50 cars last year.
The court first authorized purchasing the former Regions Bank parking lot in November 2017 as part of its effort to address a 2015 study that found the county needed almost 600 parking spaces daily for courthouse visitors and staff but has only 351 available spaces.
Regions Bank has until June 2020 to clear the premises of the property and bank on Fredonia Street, but that could happen sooner, Stoudt said. The bank opened its new branch on West Marshall Avenue several days ago, and Dulweber and other legal representatives are drafting documents for the county to possibly take ownership as soon as this month.
“We will revisit and see if everybody is on board with them vacating,” Stoudt said, adding that if that happens, “We can take it over and start demolishing the drive-throughs” that currently occupy part of the property the county acquired.